WITHIN 24 hours of being suspended as the Jalpaiguri District Child Protection Officer (DCPO), Sasmita Ghosh was on Monday arrested by state CID officers at Pintel Village in Siliguri in the Jalpaiguri child trafficking case. The arrest came three days after her husband, Darjeeling DCPO Mrinal Ghosh, was arrested in the case. “Sasmita Ghosh was arrested today after prolonged interrogation. She was a DCPO and also a member of the adoption committee… She was misusing her post,” DIG (CID) Nishat Parvej said. Sasmita is set to be produced before a Jalpaiguri court, where CID would seek her custody.
Sources in the CID said Sasmita was arrested as the officers were unsatisfied with her replies during interrogation. This comes on a day when CID conducted a search operation at the couple’s residence at College Para crossing in Siliguri. Both Mrinal and Sasmita were present during the search.
“The couple had taken undue advantage of their positions as DCPO… They would take commission once a child was sold. They were not only allowing a smooth running of this racket but were also receiving benefits in return,” said another CID officer.
The arrest of Mrinal, along with a member of the district Child Welfare Committee, came days after BJP Mahila Morcha leader Juhi Chowdhury — now arrested — chief adoption officer of an NGO Sonali Mondal, its chairperson Chandana Chakraborty and Chandana’s brother Manas Bhowmik were arrested in the case.
Sonali, Chandana and Manas have been accused of selling about 17 children, aged between one and 14 years, to foreigners by means of questionable adoption deals. Three homes run by Chandana – Bimala Sishu Griho, Ashroy Short Stay Home and North Bengal People’s Development Committee — have been shut down.